Approximately 50 million Americans experience some form of short or long-term tinnitus. Most experience symptoms that last only a few seconds or up to a few minutes during each episode. About 12 million people experience a constant or recurring level of tinnitus that interferes with their daily life.
For these individuals, tinnitus contributes to a loss of sleep, difficulty concentrating, and negative emotional reactions such as stress, anxiety, frustration, and depression.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition in which you hear sounds inside your head that do not come from an outside source. Different levels of intensity and characteristics are experienced by each individual, including ringing, clicking, buzzing, roaring, whistling, or hissing in a constant, intermittent, or reverberating tone. People of any age are affected by tinnitus, although it is not as common in children.
What causes tinnitus?
A definitive cause for tinnitus has not been established, however there are a variety of identifiable causes often associated with the condition, such as:
- Hearing loss
- Prolonged exposure to loud noises
- Exposure to an extreme noise event
- Head injury
- Side effects from ototoxic medications
- Blood pressure issues
- Wax in the ear canal
- Fluid behind the eardrum
- Heart, blood vessel, neck, jaw, or dental issues
Because tinnitus is often associated with other serious medical issues, it is important to consult with a medical professional, such as an audiologist or an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor), to be sure that all possible causes and treatments are considered.
How do you manage tinnitus?
Ruling out various medical reasons as the cause for your tinnitus is an important part of receiving proper treatment. In the majority of cases, no known cause is identified, making finding relief for the condition through a variety of management techniques the only solution.
A variety of management techniques we use produce positive results, including:
- Hearing aids. Hearing loss and tinnitus often go hand in hand. An increase in soft, environmental sounds, such as refrigerator noise, washing machine sounds, lawn mowers, chirping crickets, bird songs, etc., help to distract wearers from the sounds of tinnitus.
- Sound generators. These devices produce pleasant broadband sounds delivered directly to your ears to mask the sound and reduce your focus on tinnitus sounds.
- Combination instruments. Some modern digital hearing aids include sound generators in order to help treat both conditions for individuals with a hearing loss.
- Environmental enrichment devices. Various devices generate background sounds, such as wind, rain, flowing streams, waterfalls, or non-environmental sounds, such as soft music, as a means of decreasing your perception of tinnitus. Many of these are available as apps for smartphones or tablets.
- Relaxation techniques. Stress tends to add to the intensity of tinnitus symptoms for many individuals. To help reduce its contribution, learning various types of relaxation and coping techniques for stress can help provide relief as well.
- Counseling options. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) helps various individuals learn how to limit the attention you give to tinnitus sounds along with techniques to better manage the stress and anxiety caused by your condition.
- Dental options. Jaw and neck muscle tension related to temporomandibular disorder (TMD) can also produce or add to tinnitus intensity, so controlling dental issues, such teeth clenching and grinding, often help to provide relief.
Park Place Hearing Can Help You To Manage Tinnitus
There are plenty of “products” out there when it comes to “curing” your tinnitus, but the majority just take your money without providing any relief. Because tinnitus is often associated with other more serious health conditions or hearing loss, your best option is to seek diagnosis and treatment from a hearing care professional.
Park Place Hearing helps Marin and Sonoma County patients to identify possible causes of your tinnitus and provide proven management techniques that produce true relief from your symptoms. Contact us for a tinnitus assessment and management techniques with measurable results.